Exercising and keeping fit and strong is all well and good when things are going well for you and you’re fit and healthy.
As beneficial as exercise is, however, one of the main downsides to exercising and working out regularly and intensely is the fact that you leave yourself susceptible to muscle soreness, stiffness, and injury.
If you pick up an injury through working out, or if you simply find that you are unable to exercise to your full potential because of the fact that your muscles and joints are so sore and stiff, one of the best things you can do is invest in a foam roller.
There are countless foam roller benefits for users of all physical abilities to enjoy and to prove it, we’ll be highlighting just a select few.
Here’s a look at 16 awesome benefits of a foam roller.
Table Of Contents
To begin with, we’re going to take a look at what a foam roller actually is.
Foam rollers have grown hugely in popularity over the last decade, so much so in fact, that in most commercial gyms, they are just as common as a set of dumbbells.
But what are they?
Self-myofascial release is also known as foam rolling and it is basically a process in which individuals are able to give themselves the equivalent of a deep tissue massage, with the aid of a sturdy tube of foam.
Foam rollers are basically sturdy tubes of foam in which people roll various parts of their anatomy on in order to relax and break up stiff muscles and tight adhesions which have formed between the layers of the muscles and their surroundings.
The idea is that foam rolling helps to improve mobility, break down scar tissue, reduce pain and inflammation, and loosen up stiff and tense muscles.
Now we’re going to look at why foam rollers have become so popular over the years.
First and foremost, one of the main reasons why gyms and gym-goers all tend to now own at least one foam roller is the fact that they are so affordable.
Foam rollers are considered to be integral for many people’s recovery, rehab, warm-up, and cool-down routines yet they’re basically just tubes of reinforced foam.
A good quality foam roller can be purchased for less than $50, which considering just how effective they are, is quite the bargain.
Your foam roller will quickly pay for itself, and then more besides.
When foam rollers were first created, they were basically just tubes of foam, and that was pretty much it.
Nowadays, there are different varieties to choose from.
You can choose smooth foam rollers, foam rollers with bumps and grooves, stiff and rigid rollers, softer and more flexible rollers, and plenty more besides.
If you’re just looking for a foam roller to keep you agile and mobile, a regular roller should work fine.
If, however, you’re looking for a roller to help break down scar tissue and assist with recovery after a minor injury, a rigid roller with bumps and grooves will be better.
Another great reason to invest in a foam roller is due to the fact that it is so portable.
Foam rollers are made primarily from foam, and as a result, they are not heavy and awkward.
They’re also small and mobile, so you can take them with you wherever you go.
Whether you need one at the gym, or if you’re heading away on vacation or out of town on business, you can simply pack your roller in your bag, or throw it in the trunk of your car and you’re all set.
One of the main benefits that experts tend to focus on is the fact that they’re so great for warming up.
Foam rollers can be used by people getting ready to exercise as they help to loosen up stiff muscles and joints, they boost circulation, they’ll increase your core body temperature, and plenty more besides.
Warming up before exercise is very important as it helps to reduce your risk of injury, plus it can improve your athletic performance, so be sure to spend a good 5 – 10 minutes warming up with the foam roller before working out.
After a strenuous workout, it is just as important to cool down as it is to warm up before training.
Cooling down helps to break down muscle soreness and reduce lactic acid build-ups, whilst helping to ease and prevent inflammation in the process.
If you want an effective cooldown routine to follow at the end of your workout, 5 minutes on the foam roller will see you right.
If you suffer from stiff and painful muscles and/or joints after a tough workout, foam rolling could be the ideal solution.
Foam rolling helps to fight inflammation and break down myofascial, which often causes stiff and painful muscles and joints as it expands after becoming inflamed during a workout.
If you find that you are struggling to use certain limbs and muscles after a workout, foam rolling could be the perfect solution as it will help to ease inflammation and pain and discomfort, allowing you to go about your business as normal, without worrying about being in pain.
Another of the awesome benefits of doing foam roller exercises that we’re going to be looking at today is the fact that foam rollers have been found to help improve mobility and flexibility in users.
Many bodybuilders find that their flexibility and mobility levels are severely hindered due to their large size.
Foam rolling is very useful because it again breaks up the myofascial tissue in and around the muscles and joints, which if allowed to build up, can cause pain and inflammation.
Foam rolling will help to make even the stiffest of individuals flexible and mobile, regardless of age and size, making it a very effective treatment for people looking to improve these aspects of their bodies.
Self-Myofascial Release sounds like a very complex and time-consuming process when in reality it is as simple as laying on a tube of foam and rolling it up and down your body.
There are plenty of different stretches and movements to perform, but basically, the idea behind foam rolling is that you roll the tube of foam up and down the part of your body that is causing you problems, or that you wish to isolate.
You can also find detailed instructions online.
Another of the many benefits of foam rolling that we’re going to be looking at today is the fact that there are so many different stretches and movements for you to perform.
There are basic movements that likely come included with the instruction leaflet that comes with the roller, and there are more complex movements that target different parts of the anatomy that you can find instructions for online.
Okay, this could perhaps fall under the improved mobility and flexibility benefit, but just to ensure there’s no confusion, we’re including this additional foam roller benefit as well.
Foam rolling is a great activity for people looking to improve their range of motion.
This means that different activities and movements will improve as a result of your foam rolling, and who wouldn’t want that?
If you’re looking for viable and effective ways of improving your athletic performance in the gym, on the track, the field, or anywhere else, foam rolling is the solution.
Foam rolling will help boost circulation, it improves flexibility, it increases range of motion, and it helps to keep lactic acid at bay.
From an athletic standpoint, this is very beneficial.
Better range of motion, for example, means that you can perform exercises more effectively as it will help you to break down more muscle fibers and get more from your workout.
When talking about the many benefits of foam roller that there are to be had, it’s important not to overlook the lesser-known benefits.
Did you know, for example, that foam rolling can help to boost circulation?
Foam rolling will help the blood vessels to dilate and relax, which in turn will allow for more oxygenated blood to be carried through them and to then be transported to the various cells in and around your body.
Another way in which this will improve athletic performance is that more oxygenated blood means more oxygen for the cells, which means more energy for the cells.
The more energy the cells in your muscles have, the harder your muscles can work before they suffer from the ill-effects of fatigue.
Not only that, but foam rolling can also reduce your risk of high blood pressure, meaning that it could potentially save lives.
Before you exercise, you should always, always, make sure that you stretch your muscles and warm up before you begin.
This is where foam rolling becomes so important.
You see, foam rolling is great for warming up the muscles because it dramatically reduces your risk of injury.
Foam rolling helps to loosen up stiff and tense muscle fibers, making them more elastic and relaxed.
This means that they’re harder to rip and tear.
If you imagine trying to snap a rubber band that is loose and flexible, it will be much tougher trying to snap it than a rubber band that is being pulled incredibly stiffly and tightly.
This is why having elongated and relaxed muscle fibers before you start working out is so important, as it will reduce your risk of pulled and torn muscles.
As we mentioned, there are plenty of basic foam roller exercises that you can do which will help to loosen up your muscles and break down muscle fascial tissue without causing any distress or requiring much effort.
These exercises can be done alone, or with a workout partner so you literally have the best of both worlds.
If you do train with somebody else, it is worth having them help you to stretch and foam roll when performing certain exercises which wouldn’t be possible if you were to try them at home by yourself.
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, AKA DOMS is something that every bodybuilder and athlete will be very familiar with.
DOMS is basically where your muscles become sore, inflamed, stiff, and painful due to the fact that you worked them so hard through training.
Leg DOMS is by far the worst after training legs as they can make it so that you struggle to walk down your stairs or sit on the toilet, let alone run or exercise.
Whereas DOMS is a great indication of a good workout, bad DOMS can affect your progress in the gym.
Another of the awesome benefits of foam rolling we’re looking at today is the fact that foam rolling helps to reduce painful DOMS so you experience less pain and discomfort after a workout.
Finally, this last benefit isn’t proven 100% yet but the evidence does suggest that foam rolling could indeed help to reduce and shift cellulite from problem areas including the thighs and buttocks.
So, there you have just 16 of the many foam roller benefits.
Now that you know how awesome it really is, what are you waiting for?
Start foam rolling today and you’ll notice a dramatic improvement in how you feel and perform.
Reda is an ACE Certified Nutritionist, Brazilian jiu-jitsu purple belt and bodybuilder with 11 years of experience. He's been published on many influential websites such as lifehack.org, Wealthy Gorilla, Good Men Project and more.